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Brief from the Board Meeting on Jan. 16, 2020

Discussion – Update on Positive Psychology Implementation:
For many years, District 54 has monitored and worked toward improving our school culture, to best support our students and staff. District 54’s focus on positive psychology was adopted to accomplish three goals: deepen student, family and community development; create a happy, healthy and engaged learning community; and improve performance and fuel success.

During the 2017-18 school year all staff took part in positive psychology training based on Shawn  Achor’s book “The Happiness Advantage.” In 2018-19, Orange Island training focused on the principles outlined in Achor’s book “Big Potential” that happiness is a choice and by investing in the success of others we increase our own success. This aligns with the collaborative structures of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) in District 54. The district’s work in the area of positive psychology is being championed and sustained by Happiness Representatives at each school and the district office. In addition, third through eighth grade student ambassadors are planning events and activities to foster an optimistic school environment.

Achor’s work is also a key component of the District 54 Social-Emotional Learning curriculum. In its second year results have included a 50% reduction in suspensions, 30% reduction in behavior referrals, 20% reduction in mental health emergencies and 500 fewer students identified with an elevated risk on the Universal Screener.

Public Comment: No one asked to comment.

Freedom of Information Act Requests: Five requests were received and responded to since the last report to the Board regarding job postings; the salary, education history and job description of two employees; information on the term, email and salary of elected officials; disciplinary actions that resulted in expulsions, suspensions or transfers; and information about non-certified support staff.

Consent Agenda:  The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.

  • The minutes of the committee of the whole and closed-session Board of Education meetings on Dec. 5, 2019
  • The minutes of the regular and closed-session Board of Education meetings on Dec. 12, 2019
  • Resignations, leaves, retirement and employment of personnel
  • Checks dated Dec. 20, 2019 and Jan. 3, 2020
  • The treasurer’s reports on cash and investments for November 2019
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for December 2019
  • The acceptance of the audit/Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019
  • A resolution restating and amending the Internal Revenue Code Section 403(b) Retirement Plan Design Document
  • A resolution adopting the Internal Revenue Code Section 457(b) Retirement Plan restatement
  • The district’s submittal of an application for the state School Maintenance Project Grant to offset costs for the Campanelli roof replacement project
  • The destruction of the verbatim records of the closed-session school board meetings held on June 21 and July 12, 2018

Superintendent’s Report:

Superintendent Andy DuRoss Superintendent Andy DuRoss congratulated Assistant Superintendent Paul Goldberg on his appointment as superintendent of East Prairie School District 73.

DuRoss also shared two #WeAre54 videos, highlighting the people in District 54 who make this a special place to learn and work. This month we featured Aldrin Bilingual Resource Teacher Danielle Zeller and Einstein student Joaquin Carrasquillo. Click on each name to watch the videos.

Cabinet Report:
Community Relations Executive Director Terri McHugh shared information about new threat assessment procedures developed in District 54 to maximize safety and comply with recent changes to the Illinois School Safety Drill Act. Student safety is District 54’s top priority. The goal of the threat assessment process is to maintain a safe school environment, while also providing assistance and interventions to those at risk of engaging in harm to themselves or others.

Many of the best practices related to threat assessment are practices we already have in place in District 54, such as our positive school climates, the universal screener, intervention strategies through PBIS and an online, anonymous reporting form. The threat assessment procedures build on our current effective practices, connecting the work we do to support students with the District 54 Crisis Prevention and Response Plan.

Board President Report:
Board President Bob Kaplan thanked schools for inviting the Board to the Churchill 54th Birthday party this week and the Chinese New Year Celebration at Campanelli next week.

District 54 Education Foundation:
Board Vice President Mary Kay Prusnick thanked everyone for attending the Windy City Bulls Night on Friday, and especially the students and staff who entertained us that evening. The event raised $6,750 for Foundation programs. The next big event is the golf outing on June 8.

New Business:

  • The Board approved Nicholas and Associates to act as construction manager to oversee the 2020 internal renovation work.
  • The Board approved the offering of employee-purchased additional life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance through payroll deduction.
  • The Board approved board member expenses for the Those Who Excel Awards and Illinois Association of School Boards Conference.
  • The Board approved revisions to the following policies:
    • 2:120(a) – Board Member Orientation,
    • 2:140(a) – Communications to and From Board,
    • 2:220 – School Board Meeting Procedure and
    • 2:80 – Board Member Code of Conduct.
  • The Board approved new Board Policy 7:190(b) – Use of Time Out and Physical Restraint.
  • The Board approved the school calendar for 2021-2022.
  • The Board approved the holidays for 12-month employees for 2021-22.
  • The Board had the first reading of revisions to the following policies:
    • 1:40 – Non-Discrimination of Students and Employees,
    • 1:60 – Prohibition of Sexual Harassment,
    • 1:70 – Standard District Complaint Investigation,
    • 5:390 – Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products or E-Cigarettes,
    • 5:50 – Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace and
    • 5:90 – Abused and Neglected Child Required Reporting (DCFS).

Closed Session: The Board adjourned at 8:16 p.m.